During this year's People's Choice Awards, which took place Sunday, Nov. 11 at Los Angeles's Barker Hangar, Gurira beat out Avengers: Infinity War's Chris Hemsworth, Jurassic World star Chris Pratt, Deadpool 2's Ryan Reynolds, and her Black Panther co-star, Chadwick Boseman, for the honor.
"Thank you for affirming that women and girls, when they are given the chance to hang with the boys, can hang with the best of them," Gurira stated after she accepted her award. "Thank you."
She went on to shout out Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler.
"I have to give love and appreciation to Mr. Ryan Coogler, the storyteller behind this," she said, "and for giving me this role and entrusting women to be collaborators, to be front and center and to have space and tell a story with him. Thank you very much, Mr. Coogler."
Gurira's role as the fierce and loyal Wakandan soldier Okoye is what earned her the distinction, but the actress is no stranger to the action genre.
In 2012, Gurira joined the cast of The Walking Dead as Michonne, a katana-wielding badass with no fear of the undead. In her first scene, she was introduced alongside two shackled, jawless zombies who served as her bodyguards — the first time a character had used the undead to their advantage. As time went on, she proved to be one of the smartest, most capable, and most savage characters the show had ever seen. At the same time, as viewers would later learn, she was a mother in mourning who had lost her child to the apocalypse.
Earlier in 2018, Gurira revealed she almost missed the opportunity to portray Michonne.
"I’d never seen anything like her," the star shared during an appearance on PBS' Breaking Big. "But the year before, I had a TV job being offered to me that wasn’t where my heart was. If I had taken it, I would not have been available to audition for Michonne."
"To me, what I loved about The Walking Dead was that it felt like a war zone," she continued. "It felt like you could take out the zombies and you could replace it with a society that collapses."
Gurira will reprise her role as Okoye in Avengers 4. She is also rumored to appear in 2020's Godzilla vs. Kong and the upcoming Star Trek sequel.
Congratulations to the actress on her big win!